Article

Linus Gregoriadis
Linus Gregoriadis 21 February 2022

Key Drivers of Customer Experience - An Analysis of 5 Million Feefo Customer Reviews

An AI-driven study of millions of customer reviews has revealed the most important drivers of customer sentiment across eight business sectors.

This research takes a historical look at how sentiment has changed since 2019, but is primarily aimed at helping companies understand where they need to focus their efforts in the future to improve the customer experience and outperform competitors.

The Feefo Customer Review Study, produced in partnership with Digital Doughnut’s sister company London Research, is based on the textual analysis of more than 5.1 million customer reviews to determine the key drivers of sentiment in sectors including financial services, property, retail and travel.

The report documents the relative impact of different factors in driving negative and positive customer sentiment, and provides recommendations for companies seeking to evolve in order to stay successful.

For all sectors involving deliveries (including retail, home & garden, and business services), delivery issue resolution was found to be the most important factor in determining the overall customer experience.

Delivery Issue Resolution

In retail, for example, delivery is nearly five times as important as a driver of positive customer sentiment than quality of product, and almost nine times as important as the actual online shopping experience.

The report makes clear that communication is key for maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, with customers generally forgiving of delivery issues providing they’re kept notified about what’s going on.

The report looks at the peaks and troughs in customer sentiment over a two-and-a-half-year period dominated by the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In automotive, average sentiment increased from 58% in spring 2019 to 73% in autumn 2021. Over the same period, property benefited from a rise of three percentage points to 70%. But average sentiment around home & garden slumped from 66% to 58%, while retail tumbled from 68% to 53%.

Other prominent drivers of customer experience identified by the study include the calibre of customer service staff and the quality of a customer’s digital experience. In the property sector, bad experiences with an agent were found to be driving a large amount of negative sentiment, while in automotive the quality and condition of vehicles were paramount. 

To help produce the report, the researchers utilised the linguistics and machine learning capabilities of the Wordnerds technology platform to analyse the content and sentiment of reviews.  

Sustainability

Surprisingly, analysis of millions of customer reviews found little mention of climate change which is widely regarded as the most pressing issue of our times. Only a few reviews reflect this, mentioning eco-unfriendly packaging or delivery practices.

According to the researchers, this suggests that sustainability remains a brand perception issue, rather than a customer experience consideration. Customers are typically using reviews to rate individual transactions and interactions, rather than giving their opinion of a company and its sustainability credentials.

The full Feefo Customer Review Study is now available for download.

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